What is red velvet cake?
Red velvet cake is a classic chocolate layer cake with a striking reddish-brown sponge. These days the sponge is most likely to be coloured using food colouring but originally it was created by using ‘undutched’ or natural cocoa powder which, along with vinegar, causes a reaction which turns the sponge red. There was also a trend during times of rationing to add vegetables to cakes, and beetroot was often added for its natural dyeing properties.
How do you make frosting for red velvet cake?
Traditional red velvet frosting is made with soft cheese, butter and icing sugar. When making the frosting, it’s best to take the butter and soft cheese out of the fridge for an hour to come up to room temperature, to ensure they beat together evenly. If the butter or cheese is too cold it can leave tiny little lumps and, although it will still taste good, it won’t look as perfect.
Five steps to a perfect red velvet cake
- Get prepared. Preheat the oven, check that the sizes of your baking tins are correct and line them with baking paper (a quick rub around the tins with butter before lining will help them stick). Weigh out all of the dry ingredients and measure your liquid amounts. You’ll need a large mixing bowl so you can really mix the batter thoroughly. And check you have electric beaters with the right attachments (if not, a good beat with a manual hand whisk should be okay).
- Artificial red food colouring is really the only way to get the classic red velvet look. Natural food colourings will not give the same result and in some cases can turn a muddy green. Look out for professional-standard colouring which is stronger so you need less.
- If you want perfectly symmetrical cakes, then you should first weigh the batter as a whole before measuring exactly half into each tin. It might seem a bit fussy but that is why those professional cake shop creations look so good.
- This is quite a quick bake (25-30 minutes) so don’t wander off and forget about it. Set a timer and check with a skewer at the 25-minute mark. When ready, cooling on a wire rack allows air under the cake so it cools evenly.
- Take your soft cheese and butter out the fridge while the cake is cooling, then it should be ready to ice when you are.
How do you make buttermilk?
This is available in the milk and yogurt section of most supermarkets in cartons. If you can’t find any, simply mix 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white wine vinegar into 250ml of whole milk, stir and leave for 5 minutes – then proceed with the recipe.
How long can you store red velvet cake? Can you freeze it?
Sponges can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for two days or frozen for up to three months. When you want to serve, defrost the sponges at room temperature overnight then ice following the recipe
- self-raising flour 175g
- cocoa powder 3 tbsp
- bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
- caster sugar 150g
- eggs 2
- sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil) 150ml
- buttermilk 150ml
- natural red food colouring 2 tbsp
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- butter 100g, softened
- icing sugar 250g
- soft cheese 300g
- Kcals 684
- Fat 41.2g
- Saturates 16g
- Carbs 69.2g
- Sugars 51.8g
- Fibre 1.8g
- Protein 8.1g
- Salt 1.1g